An enterprise challenge at Plymouth University saw students apply their accounting skills to set up a ‘new zoo exhibit’.
Students from BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance were challenged to create a hypothetical new exhibit for local attraction Dartmoor Zoo, choosing from a list of eight animals, which could be housed on one of four sites within the park.
The teams had a budget of £20,000, and they had to consider the animal’s requirements, costs and ratings in terms of public appeal, educational value, conservation value and ease of keeping.
They also had to complete costings – such as fencing, housing and enrichment activities – as well as ensuring that their chosen animal met the zoo’s stated aims of promoting conservation and education.
To add a real sense of enterprise, the students were also given the zoo’s income and expenditure for 2014/15 and they had to show that the new exhibit would increase the zoo’s surplus in the future.
To finish the four-week-long challenge, the students had to display posters explaining their reasons for making their decisions and give a short presentation to a panel of the senior management team from Dartmoor Zoo.
Director of the zoo Benjamin Mee, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University in 2013, presented the winning team of Alex Downes, Grace Ting, Muhammad Miah, Victoria Maggs and Chloe Sage with the Enterprise Shield.
Module Lead Fiona Dalton said:
“The winning team won from a combination of their presentation, poster and their answers to some quite challenging questions put by the senior management team. Applying theoretical knowledge to a real-life situation is absolutely key, as it puts the students’ learning to the test. As well as the accounting and finance they study on their course, they had to think even further with marketing, geography and sustainability all coming into the mix. It really was a superb challenge and I have to thank Dartmoor Zoo for all of their help putting it together.”